There is no such thing as bad production, especially in an age where anyone with a decent interface and a little time to invest in watching YouTube videos can put together a clean and polished sounding album. In these times especially, there are only bad production choices. The way in which the music is presented to the world should help tell the story behind it, put it in context, and fit with the style.
Album opener, “Among Dead Gods” would absolutely not work as well as it does without the over-compressed kick drums booming obnoxiously over everything or the de-tuned guitar making the whole track sound like a well-worn cassette with it’s tape being stretched to capacity. Of course, all the correct production choices in the world won’t make up for bad music, but Lucifuge delivers in that department, as well. The riffs are fairly simple and mostly inspired from old Venom and early Bathory. Lucifuge nails the timing and changes – giving the riffs plenty of time to sink in without overdoing the repetition, and, unlike its primary inspirations, progresses the song into an extended bridge built on even more snarling guitar work from both the rhythm and leads.
“Dogs From Hell” plays like a blackened, fukk’d homage to Motörhead and Tank. Simple and anthemic, it is no less effective at keeping the energy bar set high following the first track. “Predestination For The Labyrinth” slows things down a hair, but absolutely nails the sinister mid-tempo of Bathory’s “Necromancy” and “Raise The Dead.” With so much worship going on, it kind of begs the question: why not just listen to Bathory or Venom? What’s so captivating about The One Great Curse for me is how Lucifuge manages to take all the great aspects of their muses and rework them so masterfully. “Sons Of Belial” just stretches the riff to the very brink of over-repetition before making subtle changes – it’s all based off one relatively simplistic riff (with an intro that sounds like Vader’s “The Final Massacre” – and I cannot overstate how overlooked the Necrolust demo is in the discussion of first-wave black metal) that slowly alters and changes palm-muting patterns as its claws twist and sink into the brain before a flurry of soloing works its way deeper into the finer crevices.
If you’re looking for the most fukk’d sounding track, “Chambers Of Lust” should absolutely do the trick. Largely Venom-esque in its riff and attitude, the production takes a turn for the worse (better?) with everything peaking out deep in the reds. It’s the way heavy metal should sound – pushing the limits with everything louder than everything else. It’s no fault here that the worthless attempts of mere mortals fail to capture the sheer loudness and intensity of Lucifuge; after all, they’re backed by The Fallen One Himself.
As important as the production may be to the delivery of The One Great Curse, it is no substitute for good riffs, high energy, and the passion that makes it such a fun turn through the earliest days of black metal and what made it so much fun in the first place. It would be unfair to give full credit to the recording process, however, there’s no way it would be as much fun if it played it safe in the production department. It could be argued that such a process is disingenuous, but I can think of nothing more genuine than presenting the songs in the manner in which they were meant to be heard. The One Great Curse is the pure speed and attitude of first wave black metal, and every choice made serves the spirit of the style.